One day, you may find yourself getting out of your creative rut and coming up with a beautiful piece of art that is designed by you. However, you’re also looking into making modifications to your sculpture before deciding to replicate it.
By digitising the sculpture and creating a silicone mould for casting reproductions, you can do exactly that. This will involve 3D printing–a modern method to make multiple copies of sculptural works.
What You’ll Need
Before you begin, you will need at least three spares. These spares will allow you to recreate your artwork if the original is destroyed or lost.
First, get a high-resolution 3D scan to create this 3D Model of your sculpture. Second, create an exact physical replica of the original artwork in smooth white plastic by 3D printing a master copy of your sculpture. Then finally, make a silicone mould of your sculpture to serve as the tool you need to replicate it in resin or wax.
Once you gather these, you can proceed with the steps to replicate your sculpture.
Step One: Create a three-dimensional scan of your sculpture.
Obtaining a high-resolution 3D scan of your artwork is the first step in replicating it.
The process of emitting several brief bursts of light and analysing the patterns of light reflected back by the object being scanned is known as 3D scanning. A 3D scanner uses electronics to compare an object’s emitted and reflected light patterns in order to determine its shape. 3D scanning then creates a digital replica of your object in the STL file format.
Step Two: Model the “Master” component in 3D.
The original object from which a mould was created is referred to as the “master” component. Because a master part should be an exact replica of the final parts you intend to cast from your mould, use the smoothest 3D Printing plastic available: SLA Resin.
Step Three: Make a silicone mould with the 3D Printed Parts.
To make a silicone mould from a physical master object, follow these instructions:
Build a box and secure your part with pour spouts. Assemble a five-sided box with an open top and fully sealed seams using a hot glue gun and square-cut foam core boards. Its dimensions should be such that when your master part is centred, there is at least 0.5″ of clearance all around and above it.
This prevents the mould walls from being too thin and tearing when the silicone is poured into the container.
Carefully insert your component into the box. Hot glue your master part to the inside of the box’s base. If your part does not have a flat bottom, use cylindrical dowels to secure it to the mould box’s base. Then, secure your part to the ends of these dowels so that it is supported by the “stilts” of these dowels.
The space created by the dowels allows your casting material to be poured into the finished silicone mould.
Prepare your silicone. First, pour an equal amount of silicone into the open top of your mould box, then pour silicone slowly until it reaches the inner bottom surface of the mould box. Do not pour silicone directly onto the part!
Pouring the silicone in a thin stream helps to prevent large bubbles from forming as it cures into rubber.
Finally, remove your master from the mould. When your silicone has fully cured, break off and remove the mould box walls. Cut a scalloped pattern around the perimeter of your silicone mould block. As you work your way around the surface of your master part, spread the silicone slowly. When you cut the scallops, the rubber grooves reconnect to their original alignment, ensuring that your mould halves align perfectly every time.
Mouldmaking is simply a clumsy process that necessitates time and practice in order to produce good moulds that are consistently cast. Beyond the tedious process, though, is the fun and satisfaction you get from this activity. So, what are you waiting for? Get to work and let your creative juices flow!
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